UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has partnered with sustainability charity WRAP to help combat plastic pollution in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The two parties have launched the International Circular Plastics Flagship Projects competition, a fund that aims to reduce the impact of plastics in India, Chile, Kenya and South Africa.

The £1.7m ($2.2m) competition focuses on flexible film packs, reusable packaging and new business models, processing recyclable materials and end-market development.

Proposals that fulfil specific targets set out in the above countries’ plastic pacts will be given funding of between £50,000 and £250,000.

WRAP will deliver the grants to winning competitors on behalf of UKRI.

WRAP international programmes head David Rogers said: “This funding forms a key part of our ongoing work to reduce the impact of plastic pollution across the globe.

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“It will address one of the world’s most urgent and escalating environmental challenges and show how innovation and collaboration can contribute towards systematic change.

“WRAP is proud to have worked on each of the plastics pacts, which now means that there is now a plastics pact in every populous continent on the planet.”

UKRI smart sustainable packaging challenge director Paul Davison said: “Representatives from dozens of nations gathered at COP26 in Glasgow to try to find solutions for environmental issues that affect the entire planet. One of the most urgent issues is that of plastic pollution.

“UKRI and the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge is in the vanguard of supporting efforts to address this challenge and we are proud to support this vital initiative.”

In September, Worldwide Fund for Nature India (WWF India) partnered with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to build a circular system for plastics.

The two organisations launched the India Plastics Pact, which aims to enable businesses, governments and the plastics value chain to move towards a circular plastic economy by 2030.